Arts and the Economy Report

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The Arizona Cultural Data Project Task Force recently released a report that reveals the impact of Arizona’s arts and culture sector on the lives of Arizonans and the state’s economy. Jaime Dempsey, Deputy Director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, will discuss the report, which will be released for the first time on Arizona Horizon.

Ted Simons: The Arizona cultural data project task force is releasing for the first time, here on "Arizona Horizon," a report that reveals the impact of arts and culture on Arizona's economy and the lives of state residents. Jaime Dempsey, deputy director of the Arizona commission on the arts, is here to discuss the report. And also joining us is Cindy Orstein, director of the Mesa arts center. Good to have you both here.
Cind Orstein: Great to be here.
Jaime Dempsey: Thank you.
Ted Simons: The Arizona cultural data project. What is this, what's it designed to do?
Jaime Dempsey: Thank you so much for inviting us to talk about the Arizona cultural data project. This project was funded by a consortium of Arizona public and private funders who came together and they decided that they would engage in this national project which aggregates and provides analysis, opportunities for analysis of data on the arts and culture sector, and its impact on Arizona lives and economies.
Ted Simons: And what did we find here? A lot of stuff to look over here. As far as reports are concerned, just general impact of arts and culture on Arizona.
Cindy Orstein: Right. We found out quite a bit because we combined three different studies. The cultural data project was the main one, we also had the Arizona arts education research institute study, and Americans for the arts study. And we looked at them to find out the growth of jobs and businesses in the sector, how organizations are encouraging participation of what amount of participation is happening, and the beginnings of quantifying the economic impact of arts and culture in our state.
Ted Simons: What can we find about the economic impact? What are we learning?
Jaime Dempsey: We're learning it is significant, we're learning what we in the arts and culture sector already had a sense of, which is that the arts and culture sector in Arizona is a significant economic driver. What we didn't have a sense of prior to this report being released was the baseline numbers. And this report, this arts and culture impacts in Arizona, is providing us a good sense of how audience expenditures and organization expenditures combine, and how we can talk about the true impact of the sector.
Ted Simons: Let's talk about organization, expenditures, and audience expenditures. What kind of difference there, and anything surprise you from these numbers?
Cindy Orstein: Well, one of the things is that of course only about half the organizations in the state are participating so far, and we did find that from that half, we have over 580 million dollars in economic impact, and that's both the organizational expenditures and the audience expenditures as well. So when people come to the arts to arts and cultural events and they buy gas, they go to restaurants, so there's the -- There's that impact as well as the direct organizational expenditures. It's quite significant.
Ted Simons: I notice the report said for every dollar invested in the arts 92 goes to work in the economy?
Jaime Dempsey: That's absolutely right. And new information to us from this report. What happens is that every dollar that's invested by the state of Arizona in arts and culture leverages $5 from cities and towns, and local tribes and the federal government, it also leverages $41 in earned income from the organizations themselves, that's through ticket sales, and admission fees. And finally, $46 in contributed income from individual donors, from foundations, from local businesses and corporations.
Ted Simons: As far as volunteers who work within arts organizations 25,000? Something along those lines?
Cindy Orstein: Yes, 25,000, and that's so important to the sector. It represents community ownership of arts and culture activity, but also the arts ask cultural organizations could not survive and thrive without that work. At the Mesa arts center we have over volunteers who help us put on all kinds of events and activities. We couldn't do it without them.
Ted Simons: As far as funding for the arts, state funding for the arts, I got a feeling I know the answer, what did the report find?
Jaime Dempsey: Well, this report, we mentioned it in the report, but it's not news to us. State funding for arts and culture has decreased by about 70% since the beginning of the recession. And Arizona ranks 50th in the nation in per capita state appropriations for arts and culture. The state is still making a modest investment in arts and culture and that's what we talk about in the report as leveraging other funds from other sources.
Ted Simons: Dead last here in appropriations of funds, is there any suggestions on how to get past that? How to work around that? Is that the kind of thing that goes beyond the report or are you just talking about numbers?
Cindy Orstein: I think it goes beyond the report, but it does suggest that we need to do what we're doing here. We need to tell our story better about the kind of return on investment that we can get from investing in arts and culture, it's a good investment and it makes a difference for quality of life, education, and the economy. And that's a really important message.
Ted Simons: And as far as nonprofit arts and culture organizations, supported in Arizona, again, earned -- You touch on some of these numbers, earned revenue, contributed revenue, pretty much even Steven?
Jaime Dempsey: It swings a couple of points in either direction year to year. What we found out in this report was for the year that was studied, 46% of the revenue to arts and culture organizations to nonprofit arts and culture organizations was earned. So -- It's about half and half each year. That's how the nonprofit sector works.
Ted Simons: So what do you want folks -- You mentioned, you need to get this information out here. What information is in that report that you think needs to be heard the loudest?
Cindy Orstein: I think one thing that's really important is that there were over -- Just in this half of the organizations in the state that are participating so far, that there were over 14 million unique visits to arts and cultural organizations last year. And that of those, over 7 million were free. Meaning that the state money is really being invested in making sure every child, every family has access to arts and culture because it's an essential part of our lives.
Ted Simons: Real quickly, as someone who runs an arts organization, how does this help you?
Cindy Orstein: It's very, very useful. It's very important for us to be able to paint this sort of well-rounded picture, not just dollars and quality of life, really the combined picture.
Ted Simons: Last question -- What do you think people need to take from this report?
Jaime Dempsey: I think that people need to understand that Arizonans value arts and culture. They're participating at really high rates. And that the arts and culture sector is a significant contributor to local economies, to jobs, we show in this report that there's been an increase, there's been -- Increase in number of jobs and number of businesses even during the recession. This is a growth industry. And that Arizonans care and they value what arts and culture brings to their quality of life.
Ted Simons: Alright. Thank you so much for introducing the report here on "Arizona Horizon." Good to have you both here. Thanks for joining us.
Jaime Dempsey: Thank you.
Cindy Orstein: Thank you.

Jaime Dempsey:Deputy Director, Arizona Comission of the Arts

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